This Sunday, January 25, 2015, award-winning artist Helena Hernmarck will speak at the Ridgefield Library, 472 Main Street, Ridgefield, CT 06877 from 2-3:30 p.m. A longtime resident of Ridgefield, Hernmarck was born in Sweden and educated at the University College of Arts, Crafts and Design in Stockholm. Hernmarck is known for her monumental tapestries, found in numerous corporate and museum collections, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Museum of Modern Art, Museum of Arts and Design, the Detroit Art Institute, Time-Warner, Kellogg, Pitney Bowes and Newsday, which are based on photographs, rephotographed collages and her own watercolors. “It is easy to affix the label photo-realism or trompe l’oeil to her work, but the medium itself, full of surprising surface effects, rejects such classifications,” according to Sigrid Wortmann Weltge, professor emeritus, history of art and design, Philadelphia University. “Hernmarck is thoroughly modern and asserts her rights as an artist by defying all rules. Ignoring that a weaving should be flat, for example, she superbly manipulates not only the textile but the viewer as well. Through the use of perspective and shading, her iconography appears dimensional while it is in effect flat. Yet the surface, as a result of deftly combined yarns of varying density, is dimensional. Hernmarck draws on various sources for her subject matter, nature as well as mundane objects. Though unideological, her imagery is, nevertheless, entirely in tune with contemporary life, immediately understood yet unexpected and mysterious.” (“Helena Hernmarck,” American Craft magazine, Sigrid Wortmann Weltge, Dec 1999/Jan 2000). SNOW DATE: Sunday, February 8, 2015 at 2p.m. The Library encourages registration as the talk is likely to fill up quickly. For more information: tel: 203.438.2282; http://www.eventkeeper.com/code/events.cfm?curOrg=RDGFLD#3838996.
Beginning this month, visitors to the library in Westport, Connecticut can view Drawn to the Edge, an exhibit of small sculptures and textured pen-and-ink drawings combined with collage and fiber by Westport resident, Norma Minkowitz, whose work is held in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Arts and Design (MAD) and Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Minkowitz has long used stiffened crochet to create airy, three-dimensional objects. In these, “[e]ach of the smallest elements — a crossing of threads, an individual knot, is essential to her realization of the final form, in a manner not unlike the complex assembling of individual cells to form a complete organism,” wrote David McFadden, former Chief Curator at the Museum of Arts & Design, New York of Minkowitz’s work. “This transformation is made possible only by cells held in genetically predetermined arrangements. By paying homage to the basic construction principles of the natural world, the artist achieves forms that appear to have been given the breath of life.” Minkowitz has been creating her intensely detailed pen-and-ink drawings for many years, but only recently begun to exhibit them. Like her sculptures, they are complex assemblages that include collage elements that the artist says, “interest, intrigue or scare me.” The artist spoke last week at the opening of Drawn to the Edge after being introduced by Chris Timmons, the Library exhibits coordinator, as a “treasure.” The cross-hatching in her drawings Minkowitz described as a link to stitching. She explains that she works spontaneously without a preplanned ending, letting the final work enfold on its own.
In The Seekers, for example, she had included cutouts of birds, but it was not until she came across an image of Picasso’s eyes, “so dark and piercing,” that “I knew how to finish the piece.” Minkowitz spoke some about the inspiration for her imagery, but added that she doesn’t wish to over explain her works. “I want them to be open to interpretation,” she says, “I like it when people see something else entirely.” Drawn to the Edge runs through March 25th in The Great Hall of the Westport Library, 20 Jesup Road, Westport, CT 06880 | 203.291.4800 | Hours: Mon-Thurs 9-9 , Fri 9-6 , Sat 9-5 , Sun 1-5; http://westportlibrary.org/services/art-exhibits.